Fast growing Emirates Airline is likely to launch a third service from Birmingham International Airport within two years, Tim Clark, president of the Dubai-based carrier, said yesterday.

Mr Clark said the airline had already experienced "huge levels of demand" for its currently twice-a-day Birmingham services to Dubai, which last year was visited by around 650,000 British tourists and business travellers - including many from the Midlands.

"The third service is a distinct possibility within the next couple of years. But we first want to grow the second service," he said.

"We have to consider the growth curve and awareness curve of the trade and consumers as we build flights in and around the arrival time of that flight into Dubai plus connectivity - ingredients which we call the second bank.

"That will allow us to grow the second service into a third service."

He added: "The problem we have got - and it's a high class problem - is that we have so much work to do and not enough airplanes.

"Although we have lots of airplanes coming in, every tail number for the next few years is allocated according to a carefully defined plan, which is dynamic in the sense that we constantly review it to make sure we are doing the right thing.

"So if something comes up which is better than the plan - such as the third Birmingham service, a new route or increasing production on an existing route, we would do it.

"So I would not see the third Birmingham service happening before a two-year timeframe."

The changing face of the West Midlands economy will also have an influence on the timing of any additional service, he said.

"As the region tunes in to what is going on in the markets overseas then the scope for travel by air increases and that's where we come along as facilitator.

"If we open places like Beijing or Shanghai then the businessman in Birmingham will be able to go there. And as China becomes more western orientated in its thinking so tourism will kick in.

"So you will get West Midlanders going to see the Great Wall of China or the Terra-cotta Soldiers - who would have dreamt about doing that direct from Birmingham five years ago?"

Mr Clark also praised the efforts of Birmingham International Airport to improve its facilties.

"The airport has realised there are big stakes in this game - and that they need to grow the airport to facilitate this. We have also finally seen the migration of the low-cost carriers coming to Birmingham. It is fabulous for me to think, that living 20 minutes away, I can travel to multiple points in Europe from Birmingham at low cost.

"As the airport starts to energise and you get low cost carriers bringing people in to pick up our flights, so it gets bigger and better. I don't necessarily have to rely on the local communities to supply the business. Birmingham Airport is now reaching other parts of Europe."

He continued: "This is a win win situation for everybody - airlines, airports and first and foremost, the consumer.

"The cake is big enough for everybody. Providing you take your airline to the market - and not expect the market to go to the airline - you will win on this."

Emirates is increasing its fleet by two aircraft a month - that will increase to three a month by March next year with deliveries of new Airbus A380 superjumbo begin. The airline has ordered a total of 45 of the huge jets.

"They are already allocated - we know exactly where they are going to fly and when. The question is have we got enough of them?" Mr Clark said.

Return flights from Birmingham to Dubai and three nights' accommodation at the 5-star Jumeriah Beach Hotel, Dubai, starts from #645 per person.